Our unsung frugal heroes

Thanks for all your comments on what you’d like to see from a new government on the financial front. Some great ideas there – keep them coming in. What a shame the frugal party isn’t out there canvassing for votes! We might actually get some.

Thursday night sees the first TV debate between Gordon Brown, David Cameron and Nick Clegg, and, like many voters, I will be tuning into at least some of it to see how they compare. I don’t know about you but, following the election coverage, not to mention the MPs’ expenses saga, I am easily disheartened by politics. I find myself wondering if any of our politicians really care about ‘making a difference’ to our society. Some of them must do, and it’s unfair to tar them all with the ‘duck house’ brush, but my scepticism has grown over the past year.

Rightly or wrongly, many of us complain about the state of the House of Commons and the rise of the ‘career politician’ who seeks money, power, and fame. But while mulling on this, I realised that it’s wrong to think there’s nobody out there trying to improve people’s lives. There are plenty of inspirational people around – it’s just that they’re not necessarily in Westminster.

I got thinking about the unsung heroes – the people out there who aren’t politicians or celebrities but who are actively trying to make life better for their fellow men and women, through charities, in their communities, by campaigning or leading by example. The Citizen’s Advice Bureau is one organisation I think is doing an amazing job helping people in the recession. I am proud to say that one of my friends is a CAB volunteer in her local community. The CAB is one of the charities bearing the biggest brunt of the economic crisis because the number of people visiting them for free advice has risen sharply.

But through writing this blog I have also encountered great individuals who are trying to help others get their finances in order or live a greener life. Here are a handful of them, the list is not exhaustive:

Emma Bryn-Jones, who runs a not-for-profit site called Zero-credit.co.uk, is somebody I find hugely inspiring. She has experienced the misery of money problems herself and now campaigns to get others out of debt, avoid the pitfalls of costly debt advice and live their lives credit-free.

Ian Thomas, who is running a campaign against payday loan providers is another individual I introduced you to recently. Join his campaign if you haven’t already. It is gaining traction, which is really exciting.

– Our home-grown MSN Consumer Champion, Sarah Modlock, is another. She campaigns tirelessly for consumer rights. Don’t forget that if you’ve had a problem with a consumer issue you can contact her through her blog for help.

Linksuk is a charity I’ve become aware of recently. They are based in East London and work with local communities on a practical basis to help those facing deprivation and poverty. They also campaign to change government policy and challenge media attitudes towards poverty. In my view, they are quietly doing some fantastic, thought-provoking work.

– On the environmental front, aside from the great people I’ve met at the Energy Saving Trust in my role as green voice of the UK and in my local Billericay Greening Campaign Group, two bloggers have inspired me to live a greener lifestyle: Karen Cannard who writes the Rubbish Diet blog and Mrs Green who writes Myzerowaste. Both ladies are ordinary people with families who have set themselves the challenge to slim their bins and are going great guns. They’re perhaps not the most likely of eco-warriors and therefore all the more inspirational because we can identify with them. I’ve also been inspired by the green groups at two of my local junior schools.

– But I also owe a lot to my parents who taught me the value of money from an early age. And, last but not least, to you – the users of this blog – who have got in touch over the past two and a half years to share your moneysaving tips and suggestions. Thank you for inspiring me in my quest to live a more frugal life. You are my frugal heroes too.

Who are your unsung frugal heroes – the people who have inspired you to save cash, improve your finances, reduce waste or live a greener lifestyle? They don’t have to be famous – quite the opposite. They might be your school teacher, your neighbour, a friend or a blogger you follow. Leave a message and tell me about them.

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5 Responses to Our unsung frugal heroes

  1. Bill says:

    Piper, if the frugal party were standing fers election, you could easily be the next PM. Maybe yer still yet have time before 6th 0f May!

  2. Flo says:

    Is being frugal watching our money or using less of the planet\’s resources? Is being frugal curbing our greed in favour of our needs? Is being green and consequently frugal a combination of the above?It\’s quite possible that you have a neighbours who wouldn\’t class themselves as either frugal or green but who possibly fall under both headings. These are people who live well within their means, produce very little waste, have a very small carbon footprint because they travel by public transport, bike or foot or car share, use their heating frugally, only buy material goods that they actually need and yet maybe can\’t be bothered to recycle because the waste that they have is very minimal indeed and their purchasing is based on their needs not their wants. They maybe don\’t buy organic food or green cleaners but have minimal food waste because they buy what they need and use up what they purchase and choose cleaning materials that have more than one use rather than having shelves of different cleaning products for each job. You won\’t find them with clothes and soft furnishing to recycle as the ones that they buy are chosen to last not from the budget retailer shelves to be worn out quickly and then replaced. You won\’t find this sort of person in the paper, on the internet or in the media. But these are the unsung people who should be your true frugal and environmental heroes. They do exist but don’t make a song and dance about their way of life.

  3. Piper says:

    Ha! Great idea Bill. If I stand for election have I still got enough time to get my expenses claim in for moderations to the chicken coop?!

  4. Bill says:

    Piper, if yer are really quick, yer might get a Duck-House, & even a Moat too!

  5. Gail says:

    Good post! Don\’t forget us debt reduction bloggers – I\’m blogging my journey through clearing £22k of debt accumlated in the boom timesFru xxxhttp://www.yearoflivingfrugally.blogspot.com

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